Biochemistry student

Wayne Cawthorne

You could say that Wayne Cawthorne’s greatest skill is appreciating life’s hurdles for what they’re worth. Of course, to say that, you’d have to turn a blind eye to his clear talent for science and biochemistry.

Wayne is currently studying a Bachelor of Advanced Science of James Cook University in Queensland – the first step towards his future PhD. He first got switched on to STEM in his Year 8 Science class, when his teacher Sarah Chapman gave him the opportunity to excel in an accelerated STEM class called the “CREST program” supported by the CSIRO.

Wayne chose to study the antibacterial properties of chillies in a real beakers-and-goggles lab experiment with the program. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite pan out. He scrapped the whole thing and revisited it two years later, achieving the Silver CREST in 2016. When asked about this, Wayne’s positivity really shines through.

“From this setback, I gained a better understanding of the science involved.” says Wayne.

“Being able to create and conduct my own experiments was definitely the highlight of the investigation. The entire project enabled me to understand the scientific process hands-on, and allowed me to see just where a career in STEM could go.”

Wayne’s next challenge was deciding which area of STEM to pursue in his career. “I came to a point where all of STEM fascinated me and I couldn’t find a field that best matched my interests.” Ultimately, indecision led to lost interest and lost direction.

The Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science (ASSETS) reignited Wayne’s passions over the summer of 2015. It was just the boost he needed to find a match in biochemistry.

“Biochemistry not only satisfied my curiosity and interests but could be applied to help other people.”

Wayne hopes to use his career to help all Australians, especially Indigenous Australians with whatever he can. He hasn’t decided on a specialisation yet, which merely provides more opportunities for self-discovery. One thing Wayne is certain of; we need more Indigenous Australians in STEM to diversify the perspectives behind science.

To those following in his footsteps, Wayne says: “Do not let anyone decide your future for you. Be the author of your own destiny.”

– Eliza Brockwell

“Biochemistry not only satisfied my curiosity and interests but could be applied to help other people.”

artificial intelligence
Eliza Brockwell

Author: Eliza Brockwell

Eliza is the Digital Producer for Careers with STEM. Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recommended for you